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Wheatfield residents say no room for Cobblestone

Wheatfield residents say no room for Cobblestone

by Joseph KisselMay 9, 2015

Sharon Downie holds up a map for the town board to see.

“This is one of your maps,” she says to the assembled representatives.

“This is all flood zone. Correct?”

Heads nod in agreement.

“You want to put a development in a flood zone? Doesn’t seem like a good idea.”

And then she leaves.

Several weeks later husband Joe Downie would also address Wheatfield’s town board about the flooding issues surrounding the proposed 39-unit Cobblestone Creek development.

“I think it’s indicative of the lack of concern for the community that this letter was sent by the developer saying we don’t care about the concerns of the school,” he said Monday at town hall.

Downie says he recalls the builder’s representative telling the town board they want “to make sure they did the right thing.”

“I think this letter shows that they don’t want to be responsible for anything that would happen at the school,” he said. “I think it’s shameless.”

“I think it’s also a shame that’s its going to take so long apparently for them to respond considering that the former president of the builder’s association is the person preparing the response,” he said.

The town is waiting for a response to their latest correspondence regarding project issues like drainage and proximity to the Errick Road Elementary School.

Downie asked the board, “When that response comes — and smart money would be on it saying there’s no impact — what is the process? Who is going to vet that and provide the town’s response for that?”

Town Attorney Robert O’Toole spoke on the issue: “One of the things I would anticipate is that we would hire an independent engineering firm that does not have a current relationship with the town to review the drainage study. We might also have a completely independent engineer review the traffic study and then the board and town engineers would go through it.”

“It might very well find that some of the responses are inadequate and will require further responses, O’ Toole said.

Downie said he appreciated the “independent nature” of the study. He also said he acknowledges that the area has a flooding problem.

“We’ve never come here and said the flooding issue that exists we want you to remedy it. We’ve never done that.”

During the last 20 to 30 years though, the changes to the environment have taken the issue to the breaking point, Downie said.

“People have supposedly studied the issue and they said there will be no important or no significant impacts. And so now those changes that have happened and did provide significant impact have brought the situation to a critical level that cannot tolerate virtually any change.”

Downie told the town board he hopes they stand with the residents who oppose this project.

“It would be intolerable, beyond reproach for anyone to approve letting that happen.”

About The Author
Joseph Kissel
Joseph Kissel is a journalist, editor and photographer. He is also the Vice President of the New York Coalition for Open Government, a non-partisan, non-profit group that advocates for transparency and the public's right to freedom of information.